Thursday, December 27, 2012

Week #2

Today was mom's second chemo. I got there a little late after an awful night of Sadie and Colin. I swear, they know when I am stressed and then stay up SCREAMING all night!

Anywho, Brian came with me because he was taking me on a date afterwards. We ended up going to Mongolian BBQ and then home, where I slept for four hours. The rest of the date will have to wait. I was so freaking exhausted.

Okay, so to the chemo. Mom's weight has maintained at 139 (yay!!). This is the first time in a month that she has not lost weight. Her blood counts were also good. Her pulse has been a little racy the last few times. After she gets the IV it typically goes down.

Our nurse Laura was again amazing. She did tell mom that it looks like we may need to get a port put in after this round. So maybe mid-January? I don't think that mom likes the idea, but the chemo is wrecking her veins. If it's hard now to get a vein, wait for another month. I think mom  is going to just have to suck it up.

Everything went smoothly today. Doc came around and told mom that she could use Colace for her constipation, but like the true stubborn woman she is, she said that she probably didn't need it and would just drink a lot of water. Whatever. Sometimes I feel like she likes to be uncomfortable or something.

I left the medical center right before the chemo started. It took almost 2 hours for them to get her all checked in, saline drip, pepcid, benedryl and her anti-nausea medication in. By the time the chemo was going to start I was starving! I spoke to my sister and mom is doing well.

I have to say that I am pleased with week two. It was nice to chat with mom for a couple hours. She was feeling okay and wasn't in a bitchy mood....bonus!

So, we'll go on to next week and then an appointment with the doctor on the 10th. I am anxious to see how her chest looks in two weeks. I am also anxious, nervous about seeing mom with no hair again. It's scary and sad. But, I will try to remain rooted in the moment where she does have her hair and is semi-happy. Thank god for a good day today!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


So Christmas is almost over. It was truly a wonderful day with my little ones and husband. We didn't have a huge Christmas this year, everything seemed just right.

I wrote the other day how I was a little worried about our Christmas Eve with mom and dad not being there. It was weird, but still nice. When I woke up at 6:30 this morning it hit me, duh, last Christmas might very well be the last Christmas Eve that I had with mom. That's why I was sad. This may not make sense to you, but it makes sense to me.

Anyways, mom and dad came over this morning and hung out for about 20 know, their usual. I swear, they can never just stay and chill! They got the kids some nice presents and we chatted for a bit. Then my dad got a text message from someone saying Merry Christmas. He didn't know the number and was texting them back, asking who it was. Mom lost her shit for some reason. She just kind of belittled him and was asking why he would even care. You could just see his face fall. She just verbally hit him out of nowhere and it got a little weird. It was so mundane, but she blew up. Then he got her coat on and wanted to leave.

I know she's not feeling well, I KNOW that. I just feel bad for dad. I mean, seriously, it was nothing to get upset over. Nothing. It was all just kind of strange and I wanted to cry a little, but I didn't. It's Christmas, my kids are in high heaven and I know that mom was just acting mean because she is tired, constipated, and to me, it looks like her hair is thinning in the back already :(

If I haven't said it in the last couple posts, breast cancer fucking sucks.

Now, I am off to watch a movie with my baby girl and settle in for a warm slumber. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Crap, forgot to update about chemo! (Warning, some BC pictures in this post)

So we started chemo on Thursday, December 20. We got to the doctor's at 10 and left around 1:45. Needless to say, it was a long and exhausting couple of hours.

Our nurse, Laura, was awesome. She went over the basic chemo procedures, basically as a refresher for us. Mom is getting taxsol....the kind that will for sure make her hair fall out. We are going to be going 3 weeks on, one week off for three months.

The scariest thing that happened was when mom had to show Dr. Greenfield her chest. Since she has been off all treatments for about two weeks, the cancer on her chest has spread rampantly. I had to take these pictures and send them to Dr. G. so that he could add them to her chart:

Sorry that these are graphic, but this is what motherfucking metastatic breast cancer looks like. Right here. Do you see any "pink?"

The good thing is that Dr. G. looked at her chest and said that the chemo is going to clear that up. He seemed pretty damn confident. Fingers crossed.

Anyways, seeing her chest shook me a little, but it was nice that my aunt and uncle came up to hang out with us. At first I was a little hesitant about them coming, but in the end, I am really happy that they were there.

They left around 12 and Brian came up around 1:30. It was nice to hang out with Brian and mom. We were talking about break ups and mom said something about how dad used to always ask her if she was on her period when she would yell at him. She said to Brian and I, "he would say that and that's when he would get a chicken sandwhich thrown at his head." That really made me laugh. Mom still has her wacky sense of humor!

So that's what happened the first chemo. She had some pains when they took her blood pressure, so we are going to address that this week. Till the next time....

Christmas 2012

Well, here we are. Christmas Eve. A time when my family (on my dad's side) gets together, plays Bingo, exchanges gifts for the kids and generally has a great time. But sadly, all of that isn't happening this year. Since mom is on her first week of chemo, she wants to stay home and not be around kiddos with germs :( And Colin has quite the runny nose, so I am trying not to blame her.

I feel like I have been psyching myself out, thinking that this is our last Christmas together. So the thought of her not being with us tonight kinda bums me out. Supposedly she and dad are going to come over tomorrow morning.....I hope so.

It's been a rough week emotionally. With the chemo, being called a bitch by my sister, crying my eyes out and trying to get ready for Christmas, I just want to crawl into a hole and sleep! Things are fine with my sister....I know that is how she is. All of us are under stress. It was just kind of a blow to get yelled at and then hung up on. If it's this bad after her first chemo, where are we going to be 3 months from now???

But, I digress. I am excited for Sadie and Colin's Christmas tomorrow. I am looking forward to a ski weekend over New Years. I'm just worried that every smile is tinged with fear. I'm afraid I'll get drunk and be a crying's certainly happened before. Drinking is nice because you get a minute of relief, but then inevitablly, a brother in law will ask about my mom. And then I'll break down. Maybe I can keep it together?? Pretty please?

So that's it for now. Mom's next chemo is on the 27th. So far, she's constipated, but I haven't heard of any hair loss yet. To be continued....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Lots has happened since that horrible day last Friday. There has been a lot of talk about the poor souls that were lost and also on tighter gun control measures. It's been so pervasive that I haven't spent so much time worrying about mom. I mean, I have, but maybe 25% less. That's good, right?!

Anywho, I started with a caregiver support group last night at The Gathering Place. It was awesome. I was probably the youngest there by 20 years, but the themes are universal. Here are some of my takeaways (that I'm not going to explain, just want to jog my memory when I read this later):

  • Scary karioke
  • Possibilities
  • Not living the calling hours/funerals TWICE. Do it's going to be bad enough
  • Love
  • Having humor
  • Planning......sometimes we need to take a step back and realize that if everything was planned how we wanted it to be, we wouldn't be living with cancer.
I am really looking forward to going back to the group after the New Year. I felt awesome after I left. Really hoping that this group can help to guide me through some potentially rough waters.

I also wanted to share this picture:

My beautiful family!
This is my family and I this past Saturday when we all baked cookies and put up the Christmas tree. This is my dad's FB post from later that day - "Thanks to my daughter Kasey for the great idea of letting the kids decorate cookies and the tree. It has lifted our spirits. Thanks to Jessie and Brian and Katie also.
I have never been more proud of my three daughters." It was a truly awesome day.

Colin and the tree!
Mom seemed a bit tired and not as interactive with the kids as she usually is, but I know that she loved every second of it. 

Kelsey, Sadie and Aubree
Aubree and Mom
We begin chemo tomorrow. I've scheduled myself and my sisters for each of her sessions through January. Please take a moment to pray for my mom. We all need her around...just a little longer. Love you mom!

Aunt Kasey with her nieces and nephew

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today, 27 people lost their lives in an elementary school in Connecticut. Once it sank in a little, I thought about mom. In February, there was a high school shooting in Chardon, OH. That was 3 days after we got mom's stage four diagnosis.

I remember being very distraught over my mom's diagnosis. As I was sitting in my office Monday, Feb. 27, a co-worker came in to tell me about the Chardon shooting. Chardon is merely 15 miles away from me. I was overcome with watching the news roll in and seeing the FB posts. It was that day that I knew I had to get on Zoloft. I was so grief-stricken.

And again, it happens. We get awful news for mom.....we are losing the battle and chemo is next and this senseless tragedy happens. I know that there is nothing in common with the two, but it is so eerie that this has happened twice.

My heart breaks, bleeds and cries for the parents who have lost their children. I am itching to get home and hug Sadie and Colin. I love them so much and it is so fucking scary that you can't keep your children safe ANYWHERE.

Hug those you love. Put petty arguements aside. Tell your husband you love him. HUG your mom. Snuggle with your little ones. Feed them ice cream for breakfast. I am going to be doing this all weekend and for as long as I humanly can.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 20

That is the day that my mom starts her IV chemo. 5 days before Christmas. Booooo.

I went to The Gathering Place to speak to a counselor about my situation. Of course I cried and of course the counselor just sat there with the big, sad, doe eyes. Her name is Betsy and she is fabulous. I really give her credit for working with the dying and their families every day. Honestly, she did give me some good tools and I am going to be going to a caregivers support group starting next Tuesday.

While I was there she showed me their wig salon. Mom is going to be so happy! The wigs are in style, come in a variety of colors and they have someone to help her pick one out. Plus she gets two FREE wigs! TGP is awesome.

I've cried lots and lots today. Some tears are falling now.....I honestly think that my eyes have sprang a leak. I'm exhausted and it is only 8:00 pm. I just wish everything were okay. But it's not, and as Betsy and I talked about today, this time in my life is going to be short-lived. It's going to be hell to get through, but it eventually has to end. What a sad, sad thought. Until later, my friends.

I want to kill breast cancer dead.

So this week in recap:

 Monday on my way home I called mom to see how she was doing. From the sound of it, she had just gotten up from a nap. I would soon find out that she was in a Vicoden haze because she had been in terrible pain all day. Because she had been coughing so much, her rib was giving her pains....remember, the rib that was already thin and that the doc said could break if she coughed too hard? Yeah, that one.

Mom said that she called dad home to take her to the ER, but instead of taking her to the hospital, they just decided to have her take some pain meds and then call her oncologist and my cousin. I was flaming mad. This is how it always works with mom.....brush everything off until the last fucking minute when she is in so much pain that she can't even breathe.

Also in that conversation I found out that mom's new drug had NEVER BEEN ORDERED from CVS. It was basically just sitting in their computer doing nothing. Could we have known about this earlier? Yes. But instead, my mom doesn't want to "bug" anyone and we don't find out about this mistake until a week later. Classic mom.

Honestly, I just wanted to give up. If she and my dad aren't going to take any help and be pains in my ass, why am I worrying so much? Oh yeah, because it's the woman who gave me life.

Fast forward to Wednesday when my sister tells me that mom has a ton more spots and nodules on  her chest than she did just a mere week ago. It's obvious that we are losing control of this motherfucker. Mom called me this morning and told me that she and the doc spoke and that we are going to forego the oral chemo and go straight to IV chemo. The last stop on this journey. We are out of options.

Mom will now begin chemo once a week for three months. 2.5 hours at a time. Now, I am not sure of the cocktail mix that she is going to get with this, but I fully expect hair loss, vomitting, diarrhea and other debilitating side effects.

After I got off the phone with mom, I lost it in my office. My friend Julie came in and helped as best as she could. We are losing mom. How terrible. Our last Christmas. I really hope those words aren't true. I was up from about 1-3 this morning on and off crying. Mourning. Wondering if I am going to give a eulogy. Wondering who will come to her funeral. Wondering if Colin will remember her....she's been sick his whole life.

Today I am going for counseling at The Gathering Place. I need it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Obituaries and fun stuff like that

In the past two days, I have had FB friends post about losing their dads. My heart breaks for them because I fear that we are not that far away from it. In one of the obituaries it said, "Tom's sons were his pride and his grandson was his joy." If there was anything ever more true about my mom, it is that statement. My mom is constantly bragging about one of us girls. I swear, she brags about us TO EACH OTHER!

I have grown up always knowing that my mom thinks I am awesome. As have my sisters. And you know that mom thinks her grandkids are the shit.

So as I was driving in this morning I was thinking of crafting her obituary. Is that bad? I don't feel like she is going to pass away soon, but truth be told, it can't be that far away....can it? Will this new drug work? Nothing else has, so it's hard to think that we are really going to get a miracle here.

I talked to mom on Wednesday and she sounded the best she has in a month. She sounded so good that she just kept talking and talking and talking. It's what she does best :) I am hoping to pop over this weekend to see her for a bit.

I do have to take a moment and say a little prayer for my friend Carrie who lost her baby this week. On Wednesday I was blessed to go to the funeral for little Noah Matthew who was born at 24 weeks. It has definitly been a week of lows. I pray that my grandma can guide little Noah into heaven and that she's also keeping an eye on mom.

On Monday after mom's horrific doc appointment, all I really wanted to do was to pray. I am not uber religious, but for a while now I have been feeling like I need "more." Brian was brought up Catholic, so he is kind of over it. Sadie does go to a catholic preschool and we have discussed starting to go to church for her. I think I need to go to church for me. I am hoping that I can muster the courage to go. I don't know much, but have a want to learn.

Is it hokey to want to go to church now that I am in need?? It feels kind of dirty. But anywho, I have to run and prepare for a work potluck. Until the next time...

Monday, December 3, 2012

I am so over this.

For real. I am so over this motherfucking cancer. This beast that is destroying my mom's life and our family. My mom deserves better than this.

At her oncology appointment today we heard that the Xeloda isn't working. She's been on it, what, 8 weeks? Of the three lesions that are on her chest, two of them have gone down a bit and the one on her breast bone is really nasty. I thought at first that everything was ok. Then Dr. G. looked and found that there are three smaller lesions. I couldn't fucking believe it. He said that the cancer is progressing through the Xeloda. The cancer is literaly coming through her goddamn skin. WTF?!

She now has to stop her oral chemo and we need to hope and pray that her insurance will cover Afinitor. This drug was FDA approved in February 2012 for renal cancer patients. When you couple that drug with another one, it has been proven to work in BC patients. BUT, since the drug is so new, Dr. G is afraid that mom's insurance won't cover it. If they don't, then we have to go to IV chemo once a week. Which will result in a surgery to put a port in mom.

The doc also said that since she has a thinning of some of the ribs, that if she coughs too much it might break her rib. And then what?! Pain management. Are you fucking kidding me?

He is speculating that the pneumonia that mom has may be linked to her cancer. Maybe a tumor down her throat. Again, WTF? My poor mom. What has she ever done to anyone? Seriously, what? Grounded me too often in high school???? I am so over this, but have to keep soldiering on for mom. Can you imagine being the one to recieve all of this news. I am fucking over it. More Zoloft please.

Just read this article. Is it saying that this is buying my mom 5 months?? can't handle.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Third round, coming up!

Today mom starts the next round of Xeloda. This will be her third round. So far, so good. No hair loss, no awful side effects. She has seemed to be a bit tired, but I'll take tired over her shitting herself and vomiting all the time. 7 days on, 7 days off.....our new mantra.

Mom said that when she saw Dr. G. a couple weeks ago, he felt that the tumor under her armpit was going down. I haven't seen the tumors on her chest in a few weeks, so I might ask her if I can see them this weekend. You gotta stay on top of this woman!

I'll try to write more later. Just wanted to give a quick update.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We made it.....last day of October!

Breast cancer awareness month is going to be over in just a few short hours....are you aware? No, I mean, are you aware of breast cancer now? You aren't?! Let's give it another month! I can't wait to watch football again without the pink shoes, pink towels and pink ribbons.

Throughout this whole BC process, you can definitely see two camps. The camps with HOPE and SMILES and the camp that is just hoping to get through another freaking day. Another day of living, breathing, being with the ones you love. I am not trying to be cynical, I still smile and laugh everyday, but there is also fear laced in almost each of those smiles and laughs. I live almost every day thinking about when my mom is going to die. How awful is that?

I found myself talking to my aunt yesterday about visiting TN over Thanksgiving to see my dad. I told her that we would for sure be there, barring anything bad happening with mom. And then I heard myself say, "It's not like she is going to die before then, and hopefully not before Christmas either." I ACTUALLY SAID THAT. I kind of sickened myself. Who talks about their mom like that?! I didn't mean it in a mean way, I was stating the facts. I don't think my mom is going to die in the next 2 months. Now, the next year, maybe. Doesn't that suck? It is so weird to talk about someone's mortality like that. I mean, really weird.

Oh! My reminder just went off that my mom should have taken her last Xeloda today. Two rounds of oral chemo down!

As I leave you now, please join me in a happy dance that October is almost over!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Purpose of this blog...

I realize in the last few months I have gotten away from my original purpose with this blog, which was to form a page where daughters could come to express their feelings about MBC. When my mom was diagnosed, the first thing I googled was "my mom has breast cancer." I didn't find much. I wanted to read something, watch something, hear something from someone who was in my situation.

So I began this blog. And while it has been cathartic, I realize I haven't done much outside of my own bubble. I guess there are times when you get so into your own head that you forget about everything else. Everything is about me and my mom. That's so selfish, but it's what I have been doing.

I want this blog to be a place where women can come and know that they are sisters with someone who is going through the exact same thing. While all of our moms many have different forms of MBC, we are all sorry sisters in this walk of life.

I have reached out to a few organizations to see if they would help me publicize the blog. Namely The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network and The Gathering Place. I don't really want to put this on Facebook seeing has how my mom could see it. I don't want to hurt her by what she's going through. She always tells me not to worry and that the cancer is just acting up. I know she is being strong for my sisters and I. But honestly, sometimes it's annoying. Like I'm not going to be worried. Like I care if I miss some work to go to an appointment with her. It drives me crazy when she tells me not to worry. I sometimes she is telling me not to care about her when she says things like that. Like she would rather do this on her own. Gah! This is so frustrating!

At any rate, I am going to try to go back to my original mission with this blog. To offer an ear and support to other daughters like me. Here's to hoping that I get more readers. Although, my first and only reader Annie, I am very grateful for :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Letter to the Editor

This is a letter I recently sent to our local newspaper.....I am really hoping that they run it!
My family and I would be grateful if you would run this letter.

Dear Editor,
Cancer is not a color. In the month of October, everywhere you turn you see the color pink. Most often, pink does not represent the Metastatic Breast Cancer patient. For those who have not heard of Metastatic Breast Cancer (or Stage 4) before, “Metastatic” refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body: bones, liver, lungs or brain. Stage 4 is treatable, but no longer curable.
My mother was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer in September of 2010. Fast forward to October 2012 and she is battling against Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. Even though our family has been fighting this disease for two years, I was unaware of what Metastatic Breast Cancer was when mom received this terrible diagnosis.
Just because you have early detection of breast cancer does NOT mean you are guaranteed a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur 5, 10 or 15 years after a person's original diagnosis and successful treatment checkups and annual mammograms. About 6% to 10% of people are Stage 4 from their initial diagnosis.
There are an estimated 155,000 women and men in the United States living with metastatic disease, fighting for more treatments to extend their lives. I urge everyone to find out more about Breast Cancer and Metastatic Breast Cancer. By educating yourself, your family and friends, you will do so much to advance the mission of stopping this dreadful disease. Please visit to learn more about Metastatic Breast Cancer. Educate yourself to raise awareness!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


So I chatted with mom yesterday and she told me that she ended up going to Dr. Greenfield because she was worried that she had pluerisy. She had had this during the first round of her IV chemo back in November of 2010.

Here are my notes from talking to her:

She had a chest xray which showed the start of pneumonia in the upper left lobe. She is going to be on antibiotics for the next 10 days. She can go ahead and start her next chemo treatment without it affecting the antibiotics. The only things she can't take until after the antibiotics is her calcium pill.

Dr. Greenfield does not think it is a tumor in the lung. The tumor under her arm is smaller and the tumor in the middle of her chest (the open sore thingie) is smaller and has been drying up. He feels the Xeloda is working.

She will be on the chemo pill indefinitly....I guess until it stops working. She reported no side effects from the chemo.

She said that she was with Dr. G. for about 1.5 hours and that the appointment I was going to go with her to on Thursday has been cancelled. So for now I just have to take mom at her word, although it seems that she told me and my sisters all the same story this time. SHOCKER!

So far, so good on the Xeloda. Mom looks good, no hair loss. On to the next treatment which should start 10.24. I need to confirm this date with her and keep her on track!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Update on doctors

Mom began her Xeloda, which is a chemo pill, this Wednesday (10.10.12). She will take this pill once in the morning and once at night for the next 7 days. She'll have a 7 day break and then we will repeat this again. I believe that after the second cycle we will go back to Dr. Greenfield to chat. Let's hope and pray that this drug takes hold!

I wanted to back up to Monday of this week however. I was sitting at my desk at work and recieved a phone call from Flo from Dr. Bergman's office. She asked for mom, to which I told her who I was. Flo said that it was imperative that mom get to their office that day to begin chemo. I then explained to Flo that we were moving in a different direction and were changing doctors. She said fine and we hung up the phone. Roughly 2 minutes later I recieved another call from Flo. This time she said that Dr. Bergman wanted to speak to mom now and that, again, she needed to get in TODAY to start chemo IV. I told Flo that that wasn't happening and that I would email mom to call the doctor.

So I emailed mom.

And she called right away and was pissed.

I think she thought that I had called UH, but I told her that they called me trying to get in touch with her. She was not happy at all that they were being this forceful.

When I talked to mom a little later, I was a little shocked at what she had to say to me. She said that she spoke with Bergman and that he said she is doing the wrong treatment, it won't be aggressive enough and that she is just postponing IV chemo, because that is what it is going to come to. Basically she is shortening her life by going with another doctor. WHAT THE FUCK?

Our new doc LISTENED to mom when she said that she doesn't want to be debilitated again. Our new doc spent OVER AN HOUR with us. Our new doc did a THOROUGH exam on my mom. How dare Bergman tell mom that she is killing herself? I;m sorry, you are the motherfucker who let my mom get to fucking stage 4. I think I have to stop writing, I feel my heart pounding in my chest because it makes me so mad that that fucker would say that to mom. Where was he a year ago? Enough of him.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

At mom's today

My little family and I went over to mom's seeing as how we had an open house today. I took the kids over around 10 and then Brian and I went over around 1. When I got there, my mom picked up Colin to which my dad promptly yelled at her. Her shoulder is still hurting her and she really shouldn't be picking up the kiddos. I really feel bad for her. My mom wants to be a very active grandma.....having dad yell at her wasn't exactly awesome.

So anyways, we decided to stay for the Browns game. Mom and I chatted, but it was nothing huge. Kinda the same as it has always been. As we were sitting there, I felt like I should ask her "stuff" so that when she passes I know all about her. But we've never worked that way. Mom is kinda private and I've never really felt comfortable asking her some was I breastfed? How was her labor with me? How did she work full time with 3 kids? My mom doesn't like the focus on her, so I never really ask those "personal" questions.

Anywho, I asked her about her friends Rita and Dana. They were really tight with mom and dad for a long time. Both Rita and Dana work at Avery. Mom then went on to tell me that she and Rita barely speak anymore and that mom thinks it's because of her cancer. She said that many people treat her differently now. That really makes me both sad and confused.

Confused because my mom has never really changed since the diagnosis. Sure, during the tough treatment times she has some pretty fucked up mood swings, but at the core she is the same woman.

Sad because mom needs her friends right now. She really does. I instantly thought of Annie (my only reader :) and Susie. I would certainyl hope that those girls would be by my side through anything. I know my mom has lots of friends, but it really just breaks my heart that some of her friends can't tell that she is the exact same woman she was a couple years ago. I had just assumed that all was well.....I guess not though.

Mom was telling me about some of her other friends though which makes me happy. I just feel such a loss for mom. Hasn't she been through enough? Now some of her friends feel uncomfortable? I htink that is just shameful. I have half a mind to call Rita and Dana.....but mom would KICK MY ASS if I did!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I forgot to add that in my last post why I labeled it "into the pink." I never really "believed" in the pink ribbon before mom was diagnosed. I worked for United Way and always felt that your money should be given locally.

When mom was diagnosed I immediatly turned to the Komen Foundation. I needed to identify with someone, something. I quickly was turned off by all of the pink. Turned off by the smiling survivor faces when my mom was losing her hair in October. I was watching football one Sunday and it was all I could do to not cry. The freaking teams were all wearing pink to raise awareness.

So far, I have been......pleasently surprised. Maybe we are too early in the month. It hasn't been in my face. I am grateful for that. I do like to wear my pink ribbon because it makes me feel that my mom is close to me. Here's hoping to a semi-pinkless month.....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Into the pink.....October blows.

Another October is here. Another October it seems as though we are finding out a lot about mom's cancer. Why is it always that shit hits the fan in the beginning of October?

Here goes the rundown of the last two hellacious days:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Mom had a meeting with her oncologist from University Hospitals, Dr. Bergman. This is the onc. that has been in charge of mom since August 2010. When mom pulled up next to me and looked into my car, she looked pissed. I immediatly knew that this was not going to be fun. As we were walking into the appt, something was off. Once we got into the doctor's office I found out what was wrong.

As mom undressed, I found that she has three lesions on her chest. The lesions are bigger than a quarter and you can clearly SEE the lumps and bumps underneath. Upon furhter investigation with my sisters, no one knew about these growths....not even my dad. When Dr. Bergman took one look at the lesions, he said without a doubt that it was cancer. He then said "We are losing this battle." Word for word that is what he said.

After this he told mom that she would need another PET scan and that she had no choice but to go through another round of chemo. He explained that the cancer was winning and he wasn't sure if we could catch up. He essentially gave her a death sentence.

He decided to immediatly stop her hormone treatment since it wasn't working, but she did get the shot of bone strenghtener. A PET scan was scheduled for Friday. When we left, mom told me that there was nothing to worry about. That the chemo was going to knock it back.

It was an awful day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012
On the way into work I called mom to see how she was doing. She told me that she was thinking of getting a second opinion with Dr. Greenfield from the Cleveland Clinic. Halleilujah!!!! I knew what I had to do.

As soon as I got to work, I looked up Dr. G and called. I spoke to Catherine who proved to be an angel. The angel that we have been looking for for 2 years. They got mom in at 2:00 THAT DAY!

After a mess with getting the records transfered over, which ended with Dr. G. chewing out some ass at UH, my mom, Katie and I were sitting at the Cleveland Clinic in Willoughby HIlls.

Dr. G came in and asked mom to start at the beginning. He then did a super thourough exam which included him agreeing with Dr. Bergman that the lesions on her chest were indeed cancer. In his words it was "without a doubt." He also found a small lump in her right (only) breast.

He did a neuro exam which still has me freaked out. Mom is not very good with her left hand responses. I've been doing the hand motions all was really hard to see your mom struggle at something easy.With all that she has been through, seeing her not being able to use her hands and fingers as she wished shook me.

He agreed with all of the treatments that Bergman gave mom, but he offered some different treatments from this point forward. He offered two chemo PILLS that mom can take that might not make her hair fall out. He offered a clinical trial that can OVERCOME her hormone aversion. He said that if all else fails we can do IV chemo. We were astounded with a feeling of HOPE.

His directions were to get the PET scan on Friday, he would have results at 10 am and mom was to call him at noon to find out where we were going with this. We left knowing that this doctor was going to take mom and try his damndest to make her better.

Friday, October 5, 2012
Today was the day. Results came back that there is no organ involvement, but that the cancer is in two new places: the right breast and the hilum of the left lung. Not IN the lung, but kind of above it. The cancer that has been in her has spread intensly and has gotten very large. This, of course, concerns me. Mom will be starting the chemo pill next week after meeting again with Dr. G. 7 days on, 7 days off for 6 weeks. Then re-evaluate.

God please help my mom. Grandma Perkins please help my mom. Uncle Hank please help my mom. I can't lose her. My sisters can't lose her. My dad can't lose her. Our children can't lose her. Keep her around to annoy the shit out of me. I love my mom. I love my mom. I love my mom. I love my mom. Please god help my mom.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Been awhile.....

So I noticed that my last post was in June saying that mom's PET scan came back awesomely. As a matter of fact, Dr. Bergman said that her cancer was roughly 95% gone! 95%!!

Fast forward to the beginning of August. Mom felt a lump under her mastectomy site. "It's just a calcium deposit" she said. Well, in fact it was cancer. The cancer that was GONE (almost) in June was back with a fierceness. It not only came back in her spine, bones, ribs, lymphnodes, it has moved to her shoulder. What a freaking nightmare. Apparently the once a day pill she had been taking had stopped working.

Now our plan of "attack" on the cancer is a shot in the butt of estrogen each month and another shot in the arm of bone strengthening medicine. We should have another scan sometime in October.

I haven't been going to my mom's appointments with her....mainly because I haven't been thinking about it. Is that horrible of me? I feel like I am so overwhelmed/not overwhelmed at all, that I can't keep my thoughts straight. Sometimes I think that the Zoloft is suppressing my feelings and thoughts a little too much.

And as we just had the second anniversary of her diagnosis, that also means that this October will be the third October that I have to have BC shoved down my throat at every turn. I can't even watch football because they will be wearing stupid pink. I love pink and I love the movement, but a whole month is overwhelming to someone who has to deal with this everyday.

I just read a wonderful article today that I want to share:

Beyond pink

This is written by a stage IV warrior. I feel that it is so touching, sad and beautiful.

Until next time......

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy.....for about five seconds

Well, it's been a bit since I last posted. Most everything has been going normally. Mom has been walking much better and has had less leg pain. Really nothing major has happened since the last post in early May. Oh, except that mom cancelled one of her appointments and I went bat shit crazy on her. Let's just say that she won't cancel another appointment for work :)

So this Wednesday, May 30, mom received a voicemail from Dr. Bergman's nurse saying that the results of the PET scan showed that she is having excellent response to treatment and that the scan looked good. She went on to say that the doctor would talk to her further about it at our Monday appointment.

Mom called to tell me and I yelped with excitement! It was really an awesome feeling to have such great news for once. So I started texting and calling everyone to share the good news. As I was doing this, I was overtaken with the urge to CRY. So I went and grabbed by husband and went in for a big hug. I guess it was just a cry to let some emotion out. The Zoloft has really been doing its job, but I don't always feel I have the correct emotional responses to things.

So once the happiness sank in, the apprehension began. What do they mean about treatment is excellent? It doens't mean it's gone, does it? What are the next steps? Will mom have another birthday? So many questions. I know that I need to be rooted in the moment, but damnit, it's hard.

BUUUUT, at least we didn't get the news that it has spread. I'll update more after the appointment on Monday~

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Good news!

Today we had our oncology appointment with Dr. Bergman. It last all of 15 minutes. He checked mom's lymphnodes under her left arm and said that he thought the swelling has gone down. He said that she has gained some weight and looks to be in good health. Overall he was very happy with the progress. We'll have another PET scan in three weeks and a follow-up with him in four. So, we can kind of breathe easy for a couple weeks.

He said that we would probably be doing PET scans every 4-4.5 months. It seems like such a long time in between appointments, but I guess that is what has to be done.

So that is the update for I am writing this I am thinking about how I'll look back on this. When will I look back on this? Will I look back on this? Is it good to document this journey? You see how my head spins out of control? I guess, for the time being, it's good to write down what has happened so that I can remind mom. We have an appointment with her surgeon tonight at 5:45. Mom says I don't have to go, but.........

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have been feeling pretty okay the past couple of days. I had a terrible dream last night that mom was really upset about her diagnosis. She was crying and saying "WHY ME??". It was a horrific dream to have. My mom has been nothing but solid during this whole time. I guess that's why the dream was so jarring...she was so vulnerable and needy.

As I've said before, I think we have all been lulled into a sense of security. When I was at the doc last week she was asking about how mom is handling the diagnosis. I told her that she isn't really facing the facts and the doc said that she needed to. But my question is, does she? We are now about a month removed from the hysteria and things are going well. Mom is walking with only a trace of a limp sometimes. She feels stronger and just last night she told me that she has started taking the steps again at work. What a huge difference in just a month!

This surely means she all right.....right?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A slight sigh of relief

So, Kasey's ultrasound and mammograms came back to say that she has a cyst. The doctor wants her to come back in two months for another check. At that point they will probably drain it and then she'll just have to have regular follow-up appointments. I was so, so relieved when I got the call. I just couldn't understand how we were all going to deal with it if she did indeed have cancer.

So now that that is off my plate, my mind has shifted slightly to 4-5-11. The date of the house fire that took our neighbors life. I woke up at 3 am last night (this morning) and was reliving the evacuation, the police car ride, the look of the house...all of it. Brian and I have had to claw our way back to feeling normal and safe in our house. We have the constant daily reminder of the fire due to the plot of land next door. EVERYONE keeps asking, "is your house put back together yet?" I tell you what, that question annoys the living shit out of me.

It's been such a rough time starting with mom's diagnosis. When are things going to get better? I was telling someone the other day that I feel lulled into a sense of security right now. Mom doesn't have an oncology appointment until 4-25, she is feeling somewhat normal, Kasey's scan came back okay, we are a year removed from the fire tragedy.......what is going to happen after mom's next scan? Is my world going to crash down again? Is this the last Easter that I am going to have with her? The Zoloft is really supressing some of my anxiety but I am very fearful of when I have to feel things again.

So, I guess I am living in a dulled state of fear. Fear about my family's safety (irrational, we are going to be fine), fear about my mom's mortality (rational...who knows how long we have), fear, fear, fear. I don't think I'm paralyzed by's just kind of there. When will I go back to normal Jessica? One without medication? After mom passes? But how can I handle that without medicine?

And the second to last sentence fucking sucks. Why am I talking about my 51 year old mother passing? Breast cancer is a mother fucking bitch and I hate every second of it. Wow.....that is probably the first emotional reponse I've had in a few weeks. But it is so true. This sucks and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Well.....

Friday, March 30, 2012

And the shoe dropped....slightly

Well, as I said in an earlier post, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or, if I didn't say it, that's how I've been feeling. I got a call from mom last night at 9 (which never happens) telling me that my sister found a lump in her breast. In my Zoloft haze, I know that I told my mom that everything is going to be fine and that I would give little sister a call to make sure she schedules an appointment.

I immediately called her and made sure she knew that I knew and asked when she was going to make an appointment - she is supposed to be doing that today. My mom discovered a lump in her breast in her 30s and it turned out to just be a cyst. I am sure that this is going to be with the case with little sister as's just that you never know. Little sister unfortunately has a mom with breast cancer and an aunt. I guess thankfully, I am not blood related to my aunt, although I feel like I am. Took me a second to realize I wasn't.

So I called mom this morning and let her know that I talked to little sister and that she is going to be making an appointment. Mom seems to think that she will go because her big sister told her so. Mom thanked me for being a good sister - that felt good.

So the waiting game begins. Cyst or more?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


At this point in the whole cancer process I feel very numb and disconnected to the disease. I've been on Zoloft now for about three weeks and I guess I feel like a robot. I can talk about my mom's diagnosis without getting upset. My heart doesn't clench when someone asks. I feel like people think that I must be very callous to talk about mom's cancer in such a mellow way.

I am very conflicted by how I feel. On one hand it feels great to not be crying everyday. To feel no hope. To be able to get out of bed. On the other hand....shouldn't I be feeling something? I feel like I am being lulled into a sense of security that is going to start crash, crash, crashing down on me any second.

We were told at mom's oncology appointment on March 16 that she will not be getting another PET scan for at least two months. Her hormone treatment needs time to work. I found this frustrating because it seems foreign to me that a pill is going to make her better when there is cancer coursing through her body. She has agreed to go for a second opinion after her May PET scan.

This past weekend was my birthday and I kept wondering if this is the last one I am going to have with my mom. Even while writing this, I feel like a robot. Like someone has invaded my body. I feel almost emotionless. Is this good? What will happen when I feel again? I can't stay on this medication forever and I also know now that my mom can't live forever. What a nasty conundrum this is.

Just for the future when I look back on this, mom is still walking with a slight limp. She says she is feeling better, but I am curious as to how truthful she is being with this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Game Changer

Walking into Cleveland Browns stadium on Thursday, August 26, 2010, I got a phone call that would forever change my life. It was mom on the other end saying that the doctor thought they found breast cancer. That one simple sentence has radically changed how I view so, so many things. I had no idea that in the next year and a half, my family would be put through hell.

I remember sitting on a bench outside of the stadium with my husband, in shock of what I was hearing. I had to shake it off and head into the Browns pre-season game. I chose to have a couple beers, leave early and then call my friend Sue at 11 pm and have her talk to me about breast cancer. I was a wreck.

In the next few weeks we got the diagnosis, stage 2A breast cancer localized in the left breast. Beatable with chemo, radiation and hormone treatment. If only we had been able to follow through with the original plan, we wouldn't be sitting here in March of 2011 with mom having stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that has moved to her bones, spine, ribs and lymph nodes under both arms.

Stupid breast cancer.